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Links from around the Pre-Draft Rankings: Nathan Mackinnon

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The Colorado Avalanche placed 29th overall this season. They went into the Draft lottery knowing they would get, at a minimum, a top three pick in the 51st NHL Entry Draft on June 30th in New Jersey. For once this season, the Avalanche got a lucky break and won the draft lottery. As such they will have first choice of which player they want to welcome into the Avalanche family. In this series we will look at a new player each day. Today is about Nathan MacKinnon.

MacKinnon is the third player in this series, and the second guy that currently plays for the Halifax Mooseheads. Like Drouin the forward isn't particularly big, he is listed at 5'11 and 179 pounds. This regular season he played in 44 games and had 75 assists. Orginally MacKinnon was drafted by the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, but Halifax wanted him. Desperately. They used three first round draft picks to get him. Since he has played for the Mooseheads, with Drouin as not only a teammate - but a linemate, he has tied a Halifax record - five goals in one game. He has also represented Canada numerous times: 2011 World U-17 Hockey Challenge (as part of Canada Atlantic), 2012 World U-17 Hockey Challenge (as part of Canada Atlantic), 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, and the 2013 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.

There was some drama in the way Halifax acquired him though.

The 17-year-old from Cole Harbour was picked first overall by the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the 2011 QMJHL draft but wasn’t interested in playing there. He asked if they could trade him somewhere else and they eventually agreed, dealing him to his hometown team five weeks later. The Halifax Mooseheads gave up Carl Gelinas, Francis Turbide and three first-round picks for MacKinnon and, as anyone who is following the QMJHL playoffs now knows, the teams will play each other in the QMJHL championship series, starting on Friday in Halifax.

"It’s kind of funny that we’re playing those guys in the final with everything that’s happened," MacKinnon said. "I know it’s going to be a story line and I’m sure some people will be talking about it but we’re just looking forward to getting things going. It’s difficult waiting for something like that because we just want to keep playing. That’s all we’re thinking about right now."

Dale Tallon is impressed with MacKinnon. Here he talks, briefly, about Drouin and MacKinnon.

"They’re wonderful players. It’s a treat for these fans. They’re different, but both see the ice very well and are so unselfish, almost to a fault. They commit on both ends of the ice, which is very important, and are gifted with skill and speed and have all the characteristics of top draft choices."

If you can watch the Memorial Cup this weekend it might be a good idea. Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon will all be playing. Mackinnon is a fierce competitor and it's not "just about getting drafted". He wants to go number first.

As Saturday quickly approaches, Nathan MacKinnon needn’t be reminded about the escalating hype.

All eyes will be on the Halifax Mooseheads’ blue-chipper and the Portland Winterhawks’ stud defenceman Seth Jones when the widely predicted No.1 and No.2 NHL draft picks clash at the Memorial Cup in Saskatoon.

"I want to be N0. 1; I’m a competitor and I want to prove that I can be No. 1," admitted MacKinnon, who was projected as the No. 2 pick, just behind Jones, in the NHL’s final Central Scouting rankings.

Elite Prospects has the following to say:

A superstar in the making since an early age, MacKinnon provides a very complete combination of speed and skill. He is an amazing skater with fantastic puckhandling. MacKinnon has the ability to make quick plays and score flashy goals, but isn't shy about battling for the puck in front of the net either. He is surprisingly physical and owns a great shot to go along with quick hands. (Matias Strozyk, 2012)

Dan Marr has good things to say about him as well.

Scouts drool over his all-around talent and he’s improved the one main weakness — faceoffs — dramatically this season.

"At the Under-18, he displayed his A game to where he did some things that no other player in this draft class has shown," Marr said.

"His skill level with the quickness with which he can execute, read and react — there aren’t many players who can do that," NHL central scouting director Dan Marr told

Here is a video of MacKinnon putting the legs of a defenseman only to score a few seconds later.

Nathan MacKinnon Highlight Reel Goal vs Moncton - October 10, 2012 (via Halifax Mooseheads)

A video of some of his highlight moments.

Nathan MacKinnon Highlight Video (HD) (via nathanbrown17)

Global National had a piece on MacKinnon, and his speed is being compared to Bure.

Nathan MacKinnon Nova Scotia's next hockey sensation (via globalnational)

Here is video of Nathan MacKinnon talking about the season, the World Juniors, the draft and how he trains with Sidney Crosby during the summers.